Doctors and nurses have been struggling to protect themselves amid a supply shortage

By Rachel DeSantis
March 26, 2020 01:11 PM
Supplies donated by Art With a Point in Minneapolis
Art With a Point/Facebook

Tattoo parlors across the country are finding new ways to put their glove and mask supplies to good use as many are being forced to temporarily close up shop amid the coronavirus outbreak.

From Alabama to Minnesota, tattoo shops are donating their unused products to healthcare professionals who are in dire need as they continue to treat an escalating number of coronavirus patients.

“Supplies that could be really helpful for treating people or even saving lives are sitting in storage here in my studio,” Buddy Wheeler, the owner of Tattoo Charlie’s in Louisville, Kentucky, told ABC affiliate WHAS. “I’m going to get those and take them somewhere where they could do some good.”

Wheeler told the outlet he donated 80 boxes of gloves, 12 boxes of face masks, gauze, arm and bed covers and bottles of alcohol to Norton Hospital.

Awen Briem, who owns Art With a Point in Minneapolis, told CNN he did the same, handing over his supply of gloves, masks and footwear.

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“We’re professionals supporting other professionals. We all share an interest in the health and safety of our communities,” he said. “I think there’s a tremendous amount of empathy there because we have the understanding of what’s going on.”

Up in Woodstock, Ontario, Karen Popma, who owns Cry Baby Tattoo, said she discussed the supply shortage with her two young children, and together, they decided they wanted to “do good in the community.”

Popma donated her extra masks and gloves to the Woodstock Hospital, a local long-term care home and a local veterinary clinic, the Woodstock Sentinel-Review reported.

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Meanwhile, in Lincoln, Nebraska, Bryant Health received 29,000 gloves and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department got 17,000 from the owners of Iron Brush Tattoo, according to ABC affiliate KLKN.

“We know we’re all in this together,” a spokesperson for Iron Brush told the outlet.

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Karri Henning, who donated masks, isolation gowns and gloves, felt the same way, telling ABC affiliate WBMA that anything she can do as owner of Cloud Nine in Birmingham, Alabama helps everyone in the long run by keeping healthcare workers safe.

“We are being called to sit on the couch and protect [our neighbors] now. It’s our time. We can do this,” Wheeler told WHAS. “We can sit on the couch to protect our parents, our grandparents, the most fragile in our community.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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